Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My male Mayflower ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nathaniel Ryder b. June 1705 and Desire Godfrey b. ca 1712, of Yarmouth and Chatham, Mass.

Nathaniel Ryder was born June 1705 in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, the son of John Ryder and Esther (sometimes Hester) Hall. He was presented for baptism on 2 September 1705 by his mother "ye wife of Jn'o Rider of Yarmouth" at the Barnstable West Parish Church. I wrote about John and Esther here. The Ryder name is often spelled Rider in records. Nathaniel is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.

Nathaniel was about 14 years of age when his father died. He was to receive 39 pounds three shillings and four pence in the 7 July 1721 settlement of his father's estate, as well as part of a windmill and part of his father's personal estate. Sometime after his father’s death, he relocated to Chatham, where his brother John was living and prospering. His cousin James Ryder also moved to Chatham.

Postcard of a Cape Cod windmill
Nathaniel married Desire Godfrey at Chatham, Massachusetts, on 26 September 1728 (Chatham VR). Theirs was the first marriage recorded at Chatham.  Desire was born about 1712, probably in Yarmouth, the daughter of Moses and Deborah (Cooke) Godfrey. The last name is sometimes seen as Godfree.  I wrote about Moses and Deborah here. In his will of February 1742 (Barnstable Co. Probate 6:306), Moses Godfrey mentions his daughter Desire, wife of Nathaniel Ryder.

Nathaniel and Desire had 11 children, although none of their births were recorded so there has been some disagreement by genealogists. The well researched 1991 work by Eleanor Cooley Rue gives them 11, possibly 12, children. Nathaniel’s daughter Eunice left a will, dated 3 December 1808 and offered for probate 10 January 1809 (Barnstable Co. Probate 33:311 and 32:170). With the aid of Eunice's will and other data it is possible to reconstruct Nathaniel and Desire’s children.

1. Nathaniel, born about 1729, married Bathsheba Hinckley and had a large family in Barnstable (8 girls and child number 9 was a boy). Nathaniel is not named in his sister’s will, but his daughter Eunice Taylor is.
2. Esther born 1730/31, married Thomas Freeman, was a Quaker, lived at Falmouth. Her daughter Eunice (Freeman) Crocker was identified in Eunice’s will.
3. William, born about 1733, no marriage or death record found. Not named in Eunice’s will, so perhaps was deceased. Believe he is a son of Nathaniel as he served in the Army in 1760 with Moses and Josiah. His brother Moses named a son William.
4. Deborah born about 1737, married Daniel Rogers at Chatham; married second Joshua Nickerson; third Thomas Doty. She is called sister Deborah Doaty, deceased, in Eunice’s will.
5. Josiah was born in 1739/40; he married Huldah Gross at Wellfleet; named in Eunice’s will.
6. Eunice was born about 1741; she married Lumbert Nickerson at Chatham; no children.  She is identified as Nathaniel’s daughter in records when he initially forbade her marriage to Lumbert.
7. Moses, born about 1742, m. Patience Doane. Nathaniel identified him as a son in a 1760 petition to the General Court for a refund of 3 pounds for a gun charged to Moses at the end of his 1768 Army service.
8. Jonathan who was living in 1808, married Fear Eldredge, widow of Elisha Dunbar; mentioned in Eunice’s will.
9. John, born about 1746, married Lydia Phillips. His son John is mentioned in Eunice’s will.
10. Desire born about 1748, m. Stephen Phillips; identified in Eunice’s will.
11.  Samuel born about 1752, married first Betty Atkins, 2nd Hannah/Anna (Nickerson) Havens; mentioned in Eunice’s will.

They may have also had a daughter Zerviah who married William Cheever. Their first child was named Nathaniel and the name Zerviah is used throughout the family.

I descend from their daughter Esther.  

Esther Ryder Freeman's gravestone at East End Burying Ground, Falmouth
To support his large family, Nathaniel probably worked in the main industry of Chatham at that time: fishing.

The 1755 Chatham tax bill shows he owned little property. He was taxed for two polls (himself and one adult son; likely William), 3 pounds for real estate and 2 pounds for personal property.

In 1749, Nathaniel and his family were Congregationalists and members of Rev. Emery's Church at Chatham.

Desire died after February 1741/42 when she is mentioned in her father’s will.  Nathaniel died after 1755,  when he is listed as a Chatham taxpayer. They likely both died at Chatham.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Eleanor Cooley Rue, The Nathaniel Ryder Families of Barnstable and Chatham in the 18th Century, Mayflower Descendant, Vol 41, No. 2, July 1991

Arthur H. and Katharine W. Radasch, The Family of Nathaniel Ryder of Chatham, MA, NEHGR, October 1973
CW Swift, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 66 The Rider Family of Yarmouth, 1913

James W. Hawes, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, No. 98, Ryder Genealogy, 1912

William C. Smith, A History of Chatham Mass., 1947

Elizabeth Pearson White,  The Godfreys of Chatham, Mass., NEHGR October 1972


  1. Chris... Enjoyed reading. I have Ryder cousins in MA who use to visit my parents (Herbert and Hazel Freese in East Brunswick, NJ. My Ryder connection goes back to the Ryders of North Brunswick who were part of the Dutch Reformed Church in New Brunswick, NJ. My mother's address book had be tossed when she died so and contact was lost. I know we have some cousins out there. - Rick

    1. Rick, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you reconnect with your Ryder cousins! Chris


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